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THE OJALA FAMILY
FitFamily of the Month
Deployment of one or the other Ojala has helped
strengthen the family unit through their commitment
to support each other—and Fit Family helps!
Admittedly the Ojala family got a late start enrolling in the USAF FitFamily program, but for reasons most military families can understand. MSgt Wayne Ojala was attending Senior NCO Academy when the FitFamily website launched and TSgt Thane Ojala was arriving in Iraq, her third deployment to that country. With both Mom and Dad serving in the USAF, the three teenage Ojala children, Jari 17, Katherine 14 and Kalie 13 experience their share of single parenting.
The family agrees that while it’s not an ideal lifestyle, deployment of one or the other Ojala has helped strengthen the family unit through their commitment to support each other. They really like the FitFamily program because it helps reinforce their bond by introducing fun family activities and tips and ideas to keep them fit, and that the site is updated regularly with new information.
How the Ojala family uses the Fit Family website
Each evening the Ojala family gathers in their home office to log onto the FitFamily site, check off what they each accomplished that day and plan activities for the next day. Thane also participates long distance by logging her daily activities from Iraq. Of course, like most families, they have their favorite physical activities – with son Jari in the lead. The Ojala’s workout regularly at a nearby gym where they all scatter once inside to find their own workout space and they all love to swim in the Pacific Ocean. In fact, they frequent Ocean Beach, California every chance they get – and it's not just the teenagers who enjoy the beach, the family pets (3 German Shepard’s) enjoy romping in the sand and ocean too.
Using FitFamily’s Goal Tracker (a feature on the FitFamily website designed to identify and monitor the family's goals), the Ojala’s have set some pretty lofty goals – first they all agreed to take up a new sport this summer – surfing, and they plan to reach Level 5 Wellness before the FitFamily program concludes. With the Ojala family's track record, which is filled with years of involvement in on-base youth programs like basketball, soccer, baseball, ballet and flag football - they should have no problem reaching
Using the FitFamily website helps the Ojala's balance their
busy schedule with nutritious meals.
One of the ever-present challenges facing American families today is how to balance a busy schedule with nutritious meals. Single parenting adds another complexity to that challenge which typically ends in making fast food choices. Ojala family advice? Be realistic and get everyone involved.
“As a family, we want to eat healthy, and fortunately, we all enjoy fruits and vegetables,” said MSgt Wayne Ojala. “We’re pretty health conscious, but remember, we have three teenagers in the house, so we did agree to have Pizza Night once a week – that seems to satisfy their ‘fast food craving’.”
During TSgt Ojala's deployment, MSgt Ojala and daughter Katherine share the cooking responsibilities. Even though Katherine has a genuine interest in cooking and enjoys the healthy recipes found on the FitFamily site, grocery shopping is a family affair with input by everyone for meal planning.
MSgt Ojala encourages families and service members to
explore the FitFamily website.
Resources for families of deployed service members are extensive with assistance programs to address the before, during and after of a deployment. MSgt Ojala is all too familiar with these programs as superintendent of the Nellis AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center. He advises deployed family members to utilize the resources available to them at their base and encourages families and service members to explore the FitFamily website.
Similar to some of the programs MSgt Ojala's unit offers to deployed family members, FitFamily presents a wealth of resources like a peer support network through the Lets Talk feature, information on proper nutrition, educational projects and links to a variety of health related topics to help keep families motivated.
Is there a secret to the Ojala family success when it comes to keeping connected? It's not a secret at all according to MSgt Ojala! "Life passes by so fast - we had to get organized as a family. We plan daily activities one day out - weekend activities several days out - and vacations are planned weeks and even months in advance," he said. "Organization and commitment to our family are the core components to our lifestyle and from them we can manage almost anything that comes our way. Get in the moment with your family, don't watch from a distance - FitFamily can help you Get up - Get out and Get fit - Together!"
The Ojala family is also recognized as the 2009 National
Association's Military USAF Family of the Year.
The Ojala family is not new to recognition, in addition to serving as FitFamily of the month, they were honored as the 2009 National Association's Military USAF Family of the Year. Learn more about how healthier choices can be incorporated into your family’s everyday routine by visiting www.usaffitfamily.com.